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Nebraska’s First State Park Celebrating 94 Years

Free paddleboat rides on the newly renovated pond will be a highlight of Chadron State Park's anniversary celebration this weekend. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)
Free paddleboat rides on the newly renovated pond will be a highlight of Chadron State Park’s anniversary celebration this weekend. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

Chadron State Park will celebrate its distinction as Nebraska’s first park and its 94th anniversary Saturday, June 13, with a wide variety of activities for all ages.

All of the park’s regular offerings will be in full swing, in addition to many special activities at the Trading Post and other points.

There’s plenty to entertain the children at the annual celebration, including free paddleboat rides at the newly renovated pond from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Hippity Hop Horse Race, in which children ages 6 and under will ride bouncy balls to the finish line, will be at 2 p.m. Pellet gun shooting will be available in the picnic area from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an archery card shoot will be 1-4 p.m.

The swimming pool will be open throughout the day and children will be given the opportunity to dive for money at 5 p.m. In addition, an inflatable bounce house will be open throughout the day.

A number of activities will entertain adult park visitors as well as youth.

Live music by Fannie O’Linn & Friends will entertain park visitors from noon to 2 p.m.

People looking to step back in time will enjoy the antique tractors and cars on display from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., park naturalist Amanda Filipi will present an animal display and Larry and Mary Waldron of

Rushville will provide demonstrations in flint knapping and primitive basketry.

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission wildlife division staff members will present a bighorn sheep display from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and blacksmith Jake Butler will display his craft from noon to 2 p.m.

In recognition of the park’s anniversary year, a lunch featuring bison sloppy joes and hot dogs will be served for 94 cents from noon to 3 p.m. Free watermelon will be served from 2-4 p.m. at the lagoon shelter.

All activities, except horseback riding and swimming, will be free, but vehicles are required to have a park entry permit. The permit can be purchased online at outdoornebraska.org or at the park’s entrance.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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